Two Point Hospital, the new medical sim from the same people that made the cult-classic sim Theme Hospital, has managed to recreate the charm and slightly disinfectant-scented humor of the original games, with weird diseases, odd announcements from the receptionists, and the babble of hospital radio DJs. It works perfectly - but the game was also the scene of some Alan Partridge-related heartbreak for creators Gary Carr and Mark Webley.
"You probably heard the hospital radio DJs," Webley says, with a sigh. "There are three, but when we originally thought of the idea, the perfect person would've been Alan Partridge. We spent so long talking [with Steve Coogan], but it just got to the point where he was going to be too busy."
Webley points out that the fall from TV star to hospital radio DJ would've even fitted perfectly with Partridge canon, and Carr says his colleague was heartbroken by the rejection. "He sulked for months." Webley admits it made him want to trash the idea of having the radio stations altogether.
One of the reasons that the lack of Partridge stung so badly, says Webley, is that in an early prototype of Two Point Hospital, the team had used audio from the fictional Alan Partridge show Mid Morning Matters as their placeholder banter.
Luckily the team had a trusted in-house writer, who they've worked with since the Lionhead days, and a voiceover artist they've known since 2001's Black & White; together, the gang salvaged the radio hospital DJ idea. Good thing, too, as they're a perfect addition to the slightly warped world that Two Point Hospital inhabits.
Check out our full hands on with the game and its germs right now.